Personhood Amendments Would Not Limit Abortion or Birth Control


birth control pillsLast week, Mississippi voted against the much publicized “personhood amendment,” which would have changed the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception. Women’s rights groups were upset that if passed, this amendment would prohibit women from getting legal abortions or even birth control.

Outlaw birth control? How is that even possible? Scientifically speaking, if life begins when sperm meets egg, then all non-barrier forms of birth control could be considered abortifacients, and therefore banned. Even the chemical baby-making blockers (like the pill) that prevent the ovaries from releasing mature eggs have a backup system in place that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall.

Legally speaking, the idea that Mississippi could outlaw birth control (or even abortion) based on an amendment to its state constitution is completely bunk.

I asked Steven Ertelt, a leading pro-life expert and editor of, how he felt about the personhood amendment. He referred me to this article, which explains exactly how both birth control and abortion would remain legal in Mississippi, even if the amendment had passed.

It basically boils down to the fact that a state cannot overturn a Supreme Court decision such as Roe versus Wade: 

The Supreme Court addressed the issue of personhood language in Roe (as Texas had defined human life beginning at conception) and reaffirmed its view as early as 1983, when in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, Inc., it ruled again that “a State may not adopt one theory of when life begins to justify its regulation of abortions.”

Pro-abortion advocates would have known this, which leads to the question: Why did they get all hysterical about it in the media? They skipped right over the abortion issue (which most people feel is a terrible thing, even if they think it should be legal) and went straight for our birth control.

It’s simple. They want to paint pro-lifers as meddling busybodies that want to snatch your Ortho Tri-Cyclen out of your fertile hands. By portraying advocates for life as radical breeders that don’t understand what women go through in unexpected pregnancies, they effectively shut up our message. 

Don’t believe them. No one wants to take your birth control away. We just want you to know that no one ever regretted not having an abortion.


Image via brains the head/Flickr

abortion, feminism, politics


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nonmember avatar Emma


LKRachel LKRachel

I live in Memphis, but went to school in MS and have several family members and friends who live there and most of them were against this amendment whether they were pro-life or not.  You're describing some sort of manipulation by pro-choicers when what actually happened is that educated people made an educated vote.  This law was incredibly VAGUE, just because you talked to one person doesn't mean you have all the angles on what could've possibly happened.  There was no stipulation on health of the mother so it could've have an impact on ectopic pregnancies.  IVF in MS could've been in jeopardy as well.  This was not some snowball by the left, this was a poorly thought out amendment that was not made into a law.  

nonmember avatar Jenna

"Pro-abortion advocates?" Im not sure people are out there telling women to have abortions - they are advocating giving women the right to choose. Therefore, the correct term is "Pro-Choice".

If its okay to call us "pro-abortion" I'm reverting to calling you "anti-choice" and "anti-women".

TC00 TC00

Wow thought this was going to be an informative article until I saw pro abortion. Sigh, should I start calling you anti choice?

jagam... jagamama0710

Exactly what LKRachel said.

And you lose all respect when you start calling people "pro-abortion advocates". 

And actually the anti-choice name fits perfectly for "pro-lifers". Nobody is pro-abortion. "Pro-lifers" are in fact anti-choice. 

The president of Personhood USA himself mentioned banning IUD's and IVF.


Anast... Anastazia975

I really have to wonder if you like to remain ignorant? Do you like when people get all heated up and angry with you? One would think so, because 9 times out of 10, your articles are poorly written and there is no real research done. You seriously lack integrity. I am all for choice, but when even my die hard pro-life friends are against the personhood deal, you know there is something wrong with it!

jagam... jagamama0710

It's not so much the fact that it would have banned IUD's and IVF immediately (bc obviously, no, the state cannot overrule the supreme court), but if that had passed that leads us down a very very very dangerous path where things like that could be banned in the future. Which is why it would be bad bad bad to repeal Roe v Wade. 

Fortunately there were just enough smart people in MS to beat it down. Unfortunately, there was an alarming amount of people who voted for it. 

jelly... jellyphish

You only discuss the pill, why? There are lots of forms of birh control. Like IUDs. Do you know how they work? They prevent a fertilized egg from attaching, causing a miscarriage. Under the "fertilized eggs' human rights" action, this would have to consider IUD users to be serial killers.

There's a lot more that would be affected, but I'll just let you sit with that for now.

nonmember avatar KathyT.

"We just want you to know that no one ever regretted not having an abortion."
What an ignorant statement and an ignorant article.

purpl... purple_creeper

Actually some people HAVE regretted to Not have an abortion. Thats why you fing newborn babys in trashcans and murdered infants :d

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